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moving a 7yr old child from Germany back to England

PepPep Posts: 501
edited April 2016 in The cake stop

I am applying for jobs back in England. Hopefully we can return back to the place where we lived last, in the same house we still own. Great place for family and children.

Our daughter spent her first 3.5yr in England, and the rest 3yr here in Germany. In England she would have started school in Sept 2014 at age 4yr10m, but here in Germany with the local system she is due to start in Sept 2016, at age 6yr10m.
If indeed we do return to England, which school year should we try to put her in? If she starts from year 1, she would be with children 2yr younger than her, not good. But if she starts from year 2, she would be much behind (can't read nor write yet).
Plus, she is native in German, Japanese and Italian (from Kindergarten, Mum, and Dad), she does understand 99% English because this is the only language we parents have in common, but does not really speak it (she learnt it in England but now mostly forgot it).

I fear if we leave the choice to the school, the school will perhaps choose whatever is most convenient / easiest / safest / least hassle for them, and of course they will try to tell us this is the best for the child's education. So we rather make our mind up and then try to push for it (of course not sure we get it but worth a try).

So the question:
if our child comes back to England at age 6yr10m, with English "only" her 4th language and no schooling behind (only 3yr of Kindergarten), what school year should we try to put her in?



  • pliptrotpliptrot Posts: 582
    I am not a teacher but I comment as I am about become a parent, as a Brit in Germany, so such things are on my mind.
    I'd leave it up the school to decide - I imagine you will be dealing with people whose judgement can be trusted. Given her language skills I am sure she will do just fine, now and in the future. You are lucky to have a kid with multiple languages, this will do her well in the future, no matter what happens in the interim. The biggest challenge will be for you, going from a a successful socialist economy to a neo-liberal capitalist system which is -by most measures- failing its population. I hope you are in the one of the favoured professions, and not anything that can be off-shored to China or India.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 8,642
    I'd expect them to be placed in the year their age would indicate but as above no doubt the school can advise - children joining schools after coming to the UK from abroad is commonplace now and they generally adapt pretty quickly if my kids friends are anything to go by.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • surrey_commutersurrey_commuter Posts: 18,497
    agree with the above - you would have a huge fight on your hands (ie reach for a lawyer) to get your child in any year other than the one into which they would naturally fall.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 69,760 Lives Here
    At that age it barely matters.
  • PepPep Posts: 501
    Thanks for useful answers.
  • 964cup964cup Posts: 1,362
    @OP: UK (state) schools spend a lot of time dealing with children for whom English isn't a first language, and whose prior education doesn't match UK expectations, so I really can't see them having a problem in year 2 with a multi-lingual child who has a good understanding of English. At that age she'll be speaking like a native within the year anyway, especially if you speak English at home. If you were thinking of a private school you might find it a little more challenging, although they will also have a lot of remedial support available.

    @Pliptrot: - nice thread hijack attempt. Does the chip on your shoulder cause you problems keeping your balance when you cycle?
  • BobbinogsBobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    Judging by most of the local schools that my friends teach in, I would add Polish to your child's language skills and then she will fit right in.
  • davisdavis Posts: 2,506
    If she's <7, pretty much fluent in 4 languages, and is at least averagely bright, it basically doesn't matter because the first couple of years of school aren't exactly critical as far as I can tell.

    I would argue for her to go with her age group, purely because in a few years' time her chronological age compared to her peers will probably matter more, and that will be a persistent situation. After a few months of school here she'll be "all caught up" and it will all be forgotten anyway.
    Sometimes parts break. Sometimes you crash. Sometimes it’s your fault.
  • PepPep Posts: 501
    davis wrote:
    I would argue for her to go with her age group, purely because in a few years' time her chronological age compared to her peers will probably matter more, and that will be a persistent situation.
    Yes, this is how I see it and I think this settles it.
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